Updated: Feb 9
This is Viola and she’s in the business of brickmaking. She is one of the motivated business people who have taken both the Startup and Accelerator Programs at our Strive Hustle Hub—UOF's community centre —which is a testament to her determination and the usefulness of the courses.
“The things I learned there helped take me to another level.”
Viola started making bricks in 2004. The business started out as a “hand-to-mouth” necessity, just so she could afford to pay her children’s school fees and put food on the table.
With limited literacy skills, it was her work ethic that carried her through this initial phase of her business. She researched thoroughly by asking other local brickmakers about their operations; she did the heavy lifting of loading all the bricks for delivery with her kids; and built her business with no prior experience.
In 2012, her husband died and Viola’s brick-making became the only source of income for the family. She continued to work hard at her business, but there were things that she found very challenging, like keeping inventory and accounting.
A few years later, in 2020, she heard about Universal Outreach's business accelerator program and signed herself up. It was here that she learned about business, and improved her record keeping skills so she could balance her books.
“The things I learned there helped take me to another level,” Viola told us. Jefyne and David— the instructors of the business program—guided her through the technical sides of the business that were holding Viola back from reaching her full potential. She now employs four people and has managed to save a lot more money through her newly acquired technical know-how.
“The courses showed me that what I do today will help me reach my goals in the future,” she said. “You have to know your goal and your vision, and the finance I make today will take me to my vision.”
While in the program, Viola built her brand to entice new customers and develop closer relationships with her existing clients. Soft skills, like calling her customers after a sale and asking for reviews of her products, have lent to greater trust and higher retention. She also refined things like production and how much she should be paying her workers.
Viola has grown her business and has been able to send her three children to university. She hopes to continue expanding her business by buying a cement mixer and employing more people.
It was truly inspirational to speak to her about her journey as a brickmaker and how, as a widow, she provides for her family and sends her kids to school and university. She says the programs have been the building blocks for the success of her business. You can check out more on Universal Outreach's Business Programs here.